Measles outbreak, what to do?

By Dr. Celeste Gomez

Q: Dear Doc Celeste, I just heard that there is a “measles outbreak” in Metro Manila. Is it true that measles is airborne? I’m so scared because my 6-month-old baby boy hasn’t had his shot yet. What can I do to prevent him from having measles? – Scared Mommy Carmen

A: Hello, Mommy Carmen! There is currently a huge increase of measles cases all over Metro Manila and Central Luzon. The Department of Health (DOH) has already considered and announced it as an outbreak.


Measles or rubeola is a virus that may be caught by a susceptible child or adult via airborne transmission. Airborne transmission can mean any of the following:

1. The virus can be carried by the dust suspended in the air.

2. It can stay or remain in a room for longer periods of time.

3. The virus can be disseminated widely to people in the same room.

Signs and symptoms

When a child is infected with measles, one can have high fever together with cough, colds and red teary eyes. The rashes may start to appear at the face and head. As days go by, it slowly goes down to the feet while you notice the rashes at the head begin to brown and peel off. Some children, especially those who are immunocompromised or who have malnutrition,

Kristelle Bechayda

Help kids overcome fear of doctors

Q: I think my child was traumatized from his trips to the dentist and doctor visits for vaccinations. He cries and throws a fit upon seeing the hospital building, and more so upon entering the doctor’s clinic. What can I do to prevent this stressful situation? — Mommy Marie

A: Hello, Mommy Marie! Thank you for asking about this very common phenomenon. I do experience this in the clinic, and usually see this reaction. Oftentimes, this is brought about by the child’s anxiety—-the feeling of being surprised by a negative or painful event. The key to handling this situation is all about prepping and helping children understand the procedure that will be done to them. The following are some tips to lessen and eventually overcome this anxiety:

1. Explain what these medical practitioners do.

Caregivers often disguise the trip to the dentist or doctor as a “trip to the mall” or a trip to the doctor with a promise of “no injection.” This practice damages the trust built between the caregiver and the child, so as a coping mechanism, the child begins to throw a fit upon seeing the first sign of anything associated with the doctor and dentist. Even the sight of the hospital building can make them anxious. One can start a week before the scheduled date of the procedure by already opening the topic of a doctor’s visit. Try reading a book about doctor visits as a bedtime story,

Kristelle Bechayda